Do you know that moment when everything is too much, that you think: I can't handle it anymore? And then you do nothing, because you don’t know where to start. And ‘the thing’ gets bigger and bigger. Puh.
I do. What happens is a known phenomenon: you make a mountain out of a molehill. This is not only for drama queens; we all know it’s not good and we all do it.
This month I share one of my ‘moments’ and my way to get back on the train; back to the happy, productive, creative life I dream of.
Recently, I struggled with the awesomeness of being a freelancer. I love the independence, the flexibility and the endless freedom of being my own boss. At the same time, it provides me a huge responsibility: I can answer my own questions. I actually have to, no one else will. This is new for me in work life: I was used to be employed and to follow the priorities of my company. Now, I am CEO, manager and employee of my business all at the same time. Can you imagine how these ‘business meetings’ in my head look like when me and myself tackle bigger challenges? It can happen that things go a little wild up there. There is not an intern ‘hierarchy’ or ‘organization chart’ for my little fellows. Sometimes they fight each other and then I feel overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do, what is right or wrong and where to start. And that is the key word: to start.
Stupid tiny steps
Once I started, I always feel better, the resistance fades and I get new ideas how to deal with the issue. But the start is so difficult. The cure is to start with tiny baby steps. It works the best when a step is so tiny, that you cannot refuse to do it! Like stupidly small steps: If you want to write an email - just start the computer. That’s it. Or just open the mailing program. You don’t have to start writing jet, just open the program. Chances are high, once you are staring at the mailing program, you can’t resist to write that email: step by step.
Another example: You want to exercise. Actually, you are not in the mood but you want that satisfied feeling after having exercised. The trick: get out of your cloth. Once you are undressed, it is not so difficult to put your sport shirt on. Then you can sit on the couch in your running outfit, but it is so much easier now to really get out of the door.
This practice might look like a stupid brain hack. It works. The Japanese call it Kaizen and they show the world how this useful method helps you to improve and master every challenge - as small or big as you want to. You can read more about it at one of my favorite (Dutch) website and app SoChicken and Jelle’s article about the magic of tiny steps.
Since I know and practice kaizen, the overwhelmed moments resolve more easily. And faster. I ask myself: What is the tiniest step I can do RIGHT NOW to get closer to the desired result.
My good friend Emiel has the wonderful saying that helps thinking in tiny steps. He uses to ask:
Hoe eet je een mega grote olifant op? Gewoon hapje voor hapje. How to eat a huge elephant? Just bite by bite.
To remind myself (and you) of the beauty of tiny steps, I created a painting about it. And as you can see, I'm also optimalising my painting video's. Tiny step by tiny step :)
On this blog I share the tiny steps it takes to realise a dream and to document the journey for myself. Maybe it is inspiring for you- I would love that and it is the reason why I share it with you.